Kangding Ray have always made intricate lapidary electronic slices. Their latest album OR is no exception, as evidenced by this video of their title track. The narrative of the piece is slow, giving the listening ample time to immerse themselves in the textures and detailing of the song, including a keyboard line by the similarly poetic Ben Frost. A man dangles idly in space in the video, that’s pretty much it. Yet, watching the video as filmed in ultra slow-mo HD shows that that’s actually far from all. Likewise, Kangding Ray sound pretty simple in print, but listening to them closely shows that this is hardly the case.
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Lots of young jazz pianists like their Nirvana and their Radiohead, don’t they? Israeli-born Yaron Herman is no exception. His album from earlier this year Follow the White Rabbit contained covers of “Heart-Shaped Box” and “No Surprises” alongside a big helping of exception contemporary originals such as “Saturn Returns” and “The Mountain in G Minor”. But, back to Radiohead—what is it about them that make jazz pianists want to cover them? It must have something to do with Jonny Greenwood’s incredible knack for those tiny yet unforgettable passages like the main guitar line in “No Surprises”.
So, on that note, enjoy this clip of the Yaron Herman Trio performing the song at the Cully Jazz Festival from late March of this year.
“It was a pretty major shock when I got here,” says Dr. Tom Krueger. “You can’t describe the smells, the heat on your body, the sweat down your back, the smell of the pus that hits your nose… the smell of your own panic. You’re not sure what to do. You can’t share that stuff.” And yet, Mark Hopkins’ superb documentary does exactly that: it shares the horrific and impossible experiences of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, or Doctors Without Borders), who travel from crisis to crisis in order to provide temporary aid, to save some lives, and leave—before an infrastructure or system is put into place. In vivid glimpses of diagnoses and surgeries, the film illustrates the “tough choices” facing doctors in dire conditions. In shot after shot, roads are muddy, rooms are small, and faces are strained. Observing that doctors volunteer for any number of reasons, some noble and some less so, Australian anesthetist Chris Brasher says, “I think some people do it to run away from where they’re from.” He smiles, sort of, when he adds, “As far as I was looking to make myself homeless, I think I’ve succeeded.” The film doesn’t smooth over what goes wrong and leaves unresolved the stories of its four primary subjects, all doctors. Such messy narrative structure is to the point, exemplifying the disorder and difficulty of each day, briefly and brilliantly. The DVD is available from First Run Features on 21 June.
See PopMatters’ review.
Captain Planet follows up his hugely successful 2009 EP, Speakin’ Nuyorican, which scored multiple TV show pick-ups, with a new EP, The Ningané, releasing next Tuesday via Bastard Jazz. The title track of the new EP spotlights the vocal talents of Congolese singer Fredy Massamba, while the tune that we’re premiering today, “Dame Agua”, is a hot Latin number spiked with pounding salsa horns and an irresistible beat. This EP is something of a teaser for more great things to come from Captain Planet later this year as he plans the release of the full-length Cookin’ Gumbo this coming September.
“We as a society think we should be able to fix everything just by having a pill,” says Susan Bennett, of Massachusetts General Hospital. And “everything” includes women’s sex lives, now being “fixed” by a burgeoning industry. Liz Conner’s entertaining documentary looks at the medicalization of women’s sexuality, beginning with her own employment by the pharmaceutical company Vivus, which hired her to “help with a clinical trial” by making porn videos. The assignment got her thinking about why or how a drug might not only “help” women to achieve normal sexual desire and behavior, but also, how that normal state was being defined. This meant rethinking as well how the disease was being defined. As the film points out, “female sexual dysfunction” (FSD) was advertised as a condition in need of treatment in order to create a market for the treatment—whether by electrodes or therapy or, most often, by drugs. The process is circular and then some. In the United States, drugs need to be approved by the FDA, which demands that a disease exists before such approval. And so the pharmaceutical companies, following the booming success of Viagra and other drugs to treat “erectile dysfunction” during the 1990s, undertook a campaign to define FSD. Canner points out that this campaign, multifaceted and ongoing, “is actually changing how we think about our bodies about our disease and about our health.” Her film—available on DVD from First Run Features on 21 June—means to change that changing.
See PopMatters’ review.